Will Smith vs Chris Rock: Who Was in the Right and Who Was in the Wrong?


Graphic by: Megan Ingram

Kimani Dodd, Opinions Editor

   The 2022 Oscars took place on Sunday, March 27th, and while the event was supposed to highlight amazing actors, directors, producers, musicians, and writers, there was one particular event that overshadowed it all: Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock. 

   Chris Rock was a presenter at the awards, and he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, saying how she would be the perfect fit to star in the GI Jane 2 movie due to her bald head. Will Smith then proceeded to walk on stage, slap Chris Rock with all his might, and shout some profanities: the audience was stunned. 

   Over the past few weeks, there has been debate over who was in the right and who was in the wrong. Some people support Will for defending his wife, while others believe that the joke wasn’t offensive enough to warrant violence. Personally, I can understand why Will Smith was angry; however, I believe he chose the wrong way to handle the situation. 

   Will Smith knows that Chris Rock is a comedian and should know that he was simply doing the job he was hired to do. Just as everyday people are fair game at comedy shows, this situation was no different and should not have been taken personally. Fortunately, Chris Rock did not retaliate with more violence, which would have only made the situation worse. Interestingly enough, this episode has been profitable for Chris Rock resulting in increased ticket sales– imagine that!

   Will Smith’s actions appear to be a bit deeper. Ever since Jada addressed her infidelity on her Facebook show: Red Table Talk, her and Will have been the butt of many jokes. Additionally, some people believe that Jada and Will overshare the personal details of their relationship, so much so that there was a petition in December for journalists to stop interviewing them. When Will heard that joke, something inside of him must have snapped and he acted extremely impulsive. He perceived the joke as a dig at Jada’s medical condition, Alopecia, which she has no control over, but violence is never the answer no matter how upset you are.

   Will could have verbally clapped back during his acceptance speech or he could have directly addressed Chris Rock during the after-party. I also find it very peculiar how Will was laughing at the joke at first, then switched up quickly. It seemed like his reaction was somewhat controlled by Jada. Some people believe that he has underlying issues in his marriage, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that since every couple has their fair share of problems.

   This was Will’s first time winning an Oscar but nobody is discussing that. Will Smith is a successful actor and like it or not, he represents the Black community to some extent. By choosing violence, he played into the typical stereotype of an angry black man. He has to do better, as black people have been fighting to break stereotypes and barriers for years. Will’s actions only set us back. Despite this, I don’t believe that his Oscar should be taken, and I am curious to see which direction his career will take at this point.